Postdoctoral Training Policy

T32 CAM Research Training in Neuroscience and Stress

POSTDOCTORAL TRAINING POLICY

The following are general policy highlights for postdoctoral trainees funded by NIH grant T32AT002688. OHSU-specific policies are included as noted. OSU trainees should consult with their mentor or office of sponsored projects for information on OSU-specific policies.

I . NIH Appointment Documentation

All postdoctoral appointees must complete an NIH Statement of Appointment electronically through the Xtrain system in the eRA Commons (an RA Commons ID is required) and complete a hard copy of the NIH Payback Agreement. The Statement of Appointment is used to report which particular budget period the appointee is covered by as well as stipend, tuition, travel and trainee-related details. The Payback Agreement is completed one-time only and describes the appointee's payback obligation agreement. Only the first year of training incurs a payback obligation. The second year of training pays back the first year, so if you receive two full years you are in compliance with the payback agreement.

Details on the Payback Agreement can be found here: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/research/funding/research-support/t32/faqs/payback

I.1. Stipend

The minimum monthly stipend for Postdoctoral appointments is the NIH NRSA stipend level in effect on the starting date of the appointment. Payment of stipends at higher rates (or supplementation of stipends) is subject to policies of the funding source (e.g., NIH Grant Policy) and must be approved by the Training Director and by the Department Chair if applicable.

This is a full-time research position. Post-docs desiring some time (less than 20%) for other responsibilities including teaching and clinical work related to their research need to have it approved by their mentor and the T32 director.

At OHSU, stipend payments are processed through the payroll system and checks are issued twice per month. There will be no federal withholding tax on these checks and payments will continue to be reported on a 1099 form at the end of the year. Please note: there will be a significant gap in payroll checks during the two months each year that have 3 pay periods - you will not receive payment in the 3rd payperiod to maintain the monthly NIH stipend rate. Payroll will split your monthly stipend equally between the first 2 pay periods as they do for all the other months.

Find the forms to request direct deposit here: https://o2.ohsu.edu/central-financial-services/payroll/my-paycheck/direct-deposit.cfm

I.2. Health Care

At OHSU, postdoctoral appointees and their families have access to the same comprehensive healthcare plans as Unclassified Employees. All T32 awardees are allotted $8,850 per year from NIH for medical and dental packages. They may elect to enroll in more costly health and dental options,but the NIH T32's contribution is capped at $8,850. Health insurance costs above $8,850 will need to be paid. At OHSU, the institution (some combination of the school, department, and mentor) will pay for coverage above $8,850 but still below the institutional standard Unclassified Employee benefit allowances. The same payment guidelines apply to any institution-mandated retirement benefits to the fellow.

Upon completion of the appropriate enrollment forms, benefits begin the first of the month following enrollment. If the postdoc begins work the first working day of the month and turns in the forms at the end of that day, coverage will begin that day.

I.3. Taxes

OHSU does not withhold taxes from the stipend, and neither OHSU nor NIH provide advice regarding tax-related issues. If the trainee plans on paying federal income tax on the stipend, then a quarterly estimated tax payment may be useful. We encourage you to speak with your tax accountant about the taxability of Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards since there are differing opinions as to whether or not one needs to pay federal taxes on these types of awards.

The following is NIH's stance on this issue (from the NRSATraining Grants FAQ page):

Does a trainee have to pay taxes on stipends? The interpretation and implementation of the tax laws are the domain of the IRS. NIH takes no position on the status of a particular taxpayer, nor does it have the authority to dispense tax advice. Having said that, some modest guidance is provided in the NRSA Guidelines on stipend taxability. Refer to NIH Grants Policy Statement—Taxability of Stipends (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/NIHGPS_Part10.htm): 

Section 117 of the Internal Revenue Code applies to the tax treatment of scholarships and fellowships. Degree candidates may exclude from gross income (for tax purposes) any amount used for course tuition and related expenses such as fees, books, supplies, and equipment required for courses of instruction at a qualified educational organization. Non-degree candidates are required to report as gross income any monies paid on their behalf for stipends or any course tuition and fees required for attendance.

The taxability of stipends in no way alters the relationship between Kirschstein-NRSA fellows and sponsoring institutions. Kirschstein-NRSA stipends are not considered salaries. In addition, recipients of Kirschstein-NRSA individual fellowships are not considered to be in an employee-employer relationship with NIH or the sponsoring institution solely as a result of the Kirschstein-NRSA award. The interpretation and implementation of the tax laws are the domain of the IRS and the courts. NIH takes no position on what the status may be for a particular taxpayer, and it does not have the authority to dispense tax advice. Individuals should consult their local IRS office about the applicability of the law to their situation and for information on their tax obligations.

I.4. Retirement benefits

Appointees at OHSU are eligible to participate in an OHSU-funded 457(b) Postdoctoral Scholar Retirement Plan. For further details refer to: https://o2.ohsu.edu/human-resources/benefits/retirement/retirement-plans/scholar-retirement-plan.cfm

I.5. Holidays, Vacation and Leaves

Appointees at OHSU receive the same paid holidays as faculty employees. In addition, appointees may take up to 2 weeks of paid vacation days per appointment year (start date to end date). Scheduling of vacation days must be approved by the Faculty Mentor. Appointees and Mentors are expected to be both reasonable and flexible in making decisions about the fellow's commitment of time to laboratory work as well as other training-related activities when scheduling vacations. The time period between academic terms is considered to be active part of the training period. Unused vacation days may be carried over from one appointment period to the next. However, Appointees will not receive payment for unused vacation days when their appointments end.

Appointees may take up to 12 days of paid sick leave per appointment year. Sick leave accrues at the rate of 1 sick day per month. Additional sick leave is without pay. Whenever the number of days of sick leave in an appointment year exceeds 12, the Appointee must provide written notification to the Mentor and Training Program Coordinator (and Training Grant Director if applicable) and consideration must be given to whether the Appointee is able to maintain his/her training responsibilities. If it appears that continued leave will interfere with satisfactory completion of the training program, the Appointee may be terminated from the program. A period of terminal leave is not permitted, and payment will not be made for sick leave that is not taken.

Postdoctoral Appointees may take pregnancy, parental or family leave as these terms are defined by the OHSU Administrative Policy Manual. Up to 12 days of such leave may be taken each academic year as paid sick days in accord with the sick leave policy described above. Any additional leave is without pay, unless allowed by the granting agency or funding source. Postdoctoral appointees are entitled to take up to 12 consecutive calendar weeks of pregnancy, parental, or family leave per academic year. Individuals intending to take such leave must provide advance written notice of their intent to the Mentor, Training Program Coordinator, and Training Grant Director. Extended leave for Trainees is subject to final approval by the granting agency. Postdoctoral Appointees who return from pregnancy, parental,or family leave within 12 weeks will be reinstated at the same stipend level in effect when the leave began.

There may be additional restrictions or requirements for Trainees who receive stipend support from individual or institutional trainees or fellowship awards from NIH or other sources. Students should consult their training program director and the awarding agency for additional information.

I.6. Travel and Research Expenses

Postdoctoral appointees are allowed up to $1,000 in travel funds to attend research-related conferences or events. It is expected that the meeting is relevant to the fellow's T32 research work and not simply to some trainee's research prior to the T32. Courses and workshops are allowable expenses if applicable to all T32 awardees. It is expected that some additional funding will be provided annually from both the individual and/or the mentor's research funds. The department and training programs do not provide funds for moving expenses.

II. NIH Public Access Policy &T32 acknowledgement

The NIH Public Access Policy ensures that the public has access to published results of NIH funded research. It requires scientists to submit final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to the digital archive PubMed Central upon acceptance for publication.  To help advance science and improve human health, the Policy requires that these papers are accessible to the public on PubMed Central no later than 12 months after publication. For detailed instructions on how to comply with this policy,please refer to the NIH website: http://publicaccess.nih.gov/.

All publications made possible in part by the T32 grant will need to acknowledge the grant number, NIH T32 AT002688. NIH also likes a disclaimer, one suggestion is "This publication was made possible by grant T32AT002688 from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) at the National Institutes of Health. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of NCCIH."

III. Trainee Citizenship

At the time of appointment to the training program,individuals selected for research training supported by NRSA institutional training grants must be citizens or non-citizen nationals of the United States,or must have been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence, i.e., in possession of a currently valid Alien Registration Receipt Card I-551, or some other legal verification of legal admission as a permanent resident. Non-citizen nationals are generally persons born in outlying possessions of the United States (e.g., American Samoa).  Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible for Kirschstein-NRSA support. In addition, trainees must be able to commit full-time effort in the program at the time of appointment.

IV. Required Training

Human subject researchers based at OHSU are expected to enroll in the Human Investigations Program (HIP). For Fall term, applications must be submitted by July 16th (this date may vary slightly year to year) and applicants will be notified of admission decisions by mid-August:

http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/education/schools/school-of-medicine/academic-programs/hip/index.cfm/programs.shtml

All postdocs based at OHSU are also required to take the"Practice and Ethics of Science" course (CONJ 650) and the "Neurobiology of Disease" (NOD) course.  Postdocs based at OSU are required to take the Responsible Conduct of Research Course comparable to CONJ 650 or CONJ607.

http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/education/schools/school-of-medicine/academic-programs/graduate-studies/students/courses/conj-650.cfm

http://www.ohsu.edu/nod/faculty_2012.shtml

http://www.ohsu.edu/nod/index.shtml

http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/education/schools/school-of-medicine/departments/basic-science-departments/behn/program/behn607.cfm

If CONJ 650 has already been taken, the ½ credit ethics course CONJ 607 is required.